(This article was originally published on Oct. 2, 2020.)
A lot of teams have their stars, tough guys, and quirky goalies. Most teams also have fantastic secondary players who complement their high scorers but also complement the defense corps. Chilliwack has had a few core players who have made an impact, those are the names you know like Tambellini, Kawaguchi, Horcoff, Ast, Krog and more.
However, one of the great secondary players was Henri St. Arnault. The St. Paul, Alberta product played three seasons with the Chiefs from 2002 to 2005.
Eric Clarke: How were you recruited by the Chiefs?
Henri St. Arnault: When I was playing midget AAA, I would periodically get called up to play junior B for the St. Paul Canadians in my hometown. Harvey Smyl’s brother, Dean, was an assistant coach for the team. He was the one who got me a tryout with the Chiefs.
EC: What experiences from Chilliwack influenced your everyday life?
HS: I learned very early that the program was built on a team-first mentality and the core leaders on the team like Bobby Henderson, Tyson Terry, and Shawn Germain led by example. Also if you wanted to dress, you had to put in the work on and off the ice. Practices would be so competitive that there were periodic tilts.
Lastly, (there was) a sense of pride to be a part of a historic organization that sets the expectation of excellence on the ice and in the community. So to sum it up, how to be a good team player, work ethic is what can make you successful, and to take pride in whatever you are doing.
EC: You were part of the closing of the old Coliseum and the opening of the Chilliwack Coliseum, formerly Prospera Centre. How was it to be one of the few to play for the Chiefs in both buildings?
HS: The old Coliseum’s atmosphere was something I’d never experienced. Every home game was sold out and the crowd shook the building. Our fans were the best in the league. The Chilliwack flu was real because nobody wanted to come and play in the Coliseum.
Being a part of a new rink was also amazing. It was one of the best rinks in all of the BCHL and helped build the program into what it is today. I also stayed in Chilliwack in the offseason and worked with a construction company that was building the new rink. You’d have to double-check, but I believe I scored the first goal at the new rink. So I got to experience the history in the old Coliseum but also got to build a new one at Prospera.
EC: After Chilliwack, you spent four seasons with Lindenwood University. How was your transition to college from the BCHL?
HS: (I was) injured most of my freshman year. But the BCHL had prepared me to go to college and be a main contributor to our team.
EC: After college did you play any more hockey? What have you been up to since?
HSA: I did not. I tried out in the ECHL and Central Hockey League but in the end, decided to start my career outside of hockey. I ended up staying in the U.S., where my wife is from.
St. Arnault played three seasons with the Chiefs, finishing with 98 points in 163 games and did in fact score the first goal in the present-day Chilliwack Coliseum (formerly Prospera Centre) history. After Chilliwack, he spent three years at Lindenwood University and wound up with 183 points in 117 American Collegiate Hockey Association games.
He currently resides in Witchita, Kansas with his wife, two boys, and a daughter on the way.